The Health of Māori Adults and Children

Published online: 
22 March 2013
Cover thumnail.


This brief paper presents key findings about the health and wellbeing of Māori adults and children in 2011/12. These results come from the New Zealand Health Survey.

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Overview of key findings

Health behaviours and risk factors

  • There have been improving trends for the age at which Māori babies are fed solid food.
  • Māori and other adults have similar levels of physical activity and vegetable intake.
  • One in five Māori children, and two in five Māori adults, are obese. These rates are higher than the national average. 
  • Two in five Māori adults smoke.

Health status and conditions

  • Almost all Māori children aged 0–14 years were in good health, according to their parents.
  • Many health conditions are more common for Māori adults than other adults. These include ischaemic heart disease, stroke, diabetes, medicated high blood pressure, chronic pain and arthritis.
  • Asthma affects nearly one in five Māori adults and children.

 Access to health care

  • Māori have a higher level of unmet need for health care than other people.
  • Cost prevented 23% of Māori adults, and 8% of Māori children, from visiting a GP when they needed to, in the past 12 months.
  • Many Māori adults (18%) and children (12%) did not collect a prescription item in the past 12 months due to the cost.
  • Māori are more likely than other people to have had a tooth removed due to poor oral health in the past 12 months.
  • Most Māori adults (73%) only visit a dental health care worker for dental problems, or they never visit.

For more information

For full results from the 2011/12 New Zealand Health Survey, see the publications The Health of New Zealand Adults 2011/12 and The Health of New Zealand Children 2011/12.  

Publishing information

  • Date of publication:
    22 March 2013
    HP number:
    Ordering information:
    Only soft copy available to download